Beginning tomorrow a number of horse rescue organizations will be embarking on ASPCA’s Help A Horse Home Challenge. The goal is to get more horses into great homes from April 26-June 30. Here’s what you need to know!
According to the ASPCA there are over 1.2 million homes (2.3 million adults) that have the space, the resources, and strong interest in adopting a horse. Should be easy right?
The challenge itself was created to help drive adoption efforts to get rescue horses into these homes since we all no what we say isn’t always what we really do. This is about turning the “strong interest” into “owner,” “home,” “lifelong partner.” The horses are no different than the ones you see privately for sale on Facebook. These horses were simply “Lost In Translation” between homes, as ASPCA would describe it. Somewhere these horses lost their way between homes and found themselves in a bad situation, and the thing about it is that IT CAN HAPPEN TO ANY HORSE. Rescue groups have rideable, non-rideable, young, old, sound, special needs, trained, and untrained. They have bays, greys, mares, geldings, short, tall, thoroughbreds, miniatures.
Each horse with a story, with a horse-onality, with a forgiving heart; each waiting for its safe place to land that is truly called home. A place where they belong and are loved just like any other animal.
FUN FACT: 153 years ago on April 26th 1866 the founder of ASPCA Henry Bergh stopped a horse carriage driver from beating his horse. This is why the date is celebrated and remembered for Help a Horse Day.
From now until June 30th more than 170 horse rescue groups around the United States will be focusing on matching their amazing rescue horses with some amazing people. There are many financial prizes to be earned from this challenge totaling $150,000. Last year this two month period resulted in over 1000 new homes for horses.
How does this work?
Horses and other equines are in need of new homes. There are a lot of people with the resources and love to give. There are a lot of groups and even more horses available. The first step is showing off the raw beauty of these horses and the characters they are. The next step is creating good matches.
The rescue groups are divided into four divisions based on similar adoption numbers.
Using the adoption numbers from last year, rescue groups will be judged on how many MORE adoptions they are able to achieve this year. For example if your favorite group adopted out 4 horses in the 2-month period last year, and 8 this year, the group will have earned FOUR points. The reason for this is to focus on increasing adoptions.
What’s at stake?
There are a lot of prizes available to these rescue groups and the prizes will go to help new at-risk horses.
For each division there are 2 prizes.
In addition, ANY rescue from ANY division has a chance to win the grand prize of $35,000.
The grand prize winner cannot win a prize for their division but there is still more money on the table. Beginning June 24th submissions will be accepted from any group to be considered for The Hoofy Awards. The Hoofies are given to THREE group who demonstrate the best, most creative/effective use of social media. These $5,000 awards are open to all groups regardless of division or prize earnings.
Some of the other perks of the program include being featured by the ASPCA, gaining more viewers, access to tips, advice, and webinars! Some of the webinars provide great ideas and creative strategies for getting harder to place horses in front of loving forever homes.
Additionally, Zoetis is donating vaccines for every horse adopted up to 1500 vaccines.
What I also find very interesting is the encouragement of collaboration. I have seen many rescue groups beating up on each other in the past. While I agree some are better than others we all must remember that the majority of groups have the same goal; HELPING horses! During the two-month effort rescue groups who work together to get horses into safe loving homes will be rewarded for doing so.
For example, some groups specialize in donkey rescue, thoroughbred rescue, injury rehabilitation, etc. Groups can work together to place their more difficult to adopt horses with specialized groups that have a better success rate with that type of horse.
Have you been considering adding to your herd? Or maybe getting an equine at all?
Have a favorite rescue group in mind? Want to see what groups are participating?
Find a group in the list below!
Remember, many of these horses are just as loving, just as capable, and just as good as the horses you buy privately. They only difference is some human dropped the ball and let them down. I have found that my fostered rescues are more forgiving and develop better trust. Maybe your heart horse is a rescue! Give it a try and Help a Horse!
If you cannot adopt please consider a gift to one of these organizations in order to help their efforts! Adopt, sponsor, feed, volunteer. It all helps the bigger picture.
As always, do your research on the group you’re supporting. Really dig in and make sure they do everything they claim to do. The groups participating follow the contest rules, they are 501(c)(3), are in good standing, and the chair of the board is not compensated. Regardless I live by the motto, “trust but verify.”
Do they allow visitors? Do they make current posts and do their horses look as good in person as their photographs? Do they follow up on their adoptions? Is there an open door policy?
Attention to detail is important in making sure rescue efforts are sustained rather than perpetuated. A horse should never need rescuing but it’s unacceptable for a horse to need rescuing twice.